The Gift of Confidence
A few years ago I was put in a work situation that I never expected to hold: training new team members. My patience was routinely put to the test, and night after night I reviewed my methods of instruction in an effort to figure out if was me, or if – as I strongly suspected – it was them.
I will never forget the co-worker who noticed my exasperation and ever so gently reminded me that I was once new on the job, asking a lot of (the same) questions. In fact, she pointed out that even though my responsibilities had grown and my job title included the word “Director,” I had never stopped asking questions.
Her reminder changed my mindset. Instead of focusing on what new team members were doing wrong, I started each session by acknowledging what they were doing well. I made a list of the areas where I had seen growth and praised their work. I made an effort to actively boost their confidence, which eventually paid off in seeing them make fewer mistakes and take more calculated risks because they knew I was cheering for them.
Never forget where you started.
Before the role of trainer, I worked as a pharmacy technician. My wonderful co-workers experienced many moments of frustration when I struggled to do things that were second nature to them. During those 15 months, I felt discouraged by my inability to grasp the most “simple” concepts. Although my husband (very wisely) told me it was because I was in a role that didn’t match my skill set, his words didn’t negate the fact that despite holding a Bachelors degree, in this job I felt stupid, on a daily basis.
While my time at the pharmacy ended amicably enough, when I left I was completely unsure of my own competency, my confidence in shreds. But that all changed when a woman I had never met took a chance and offered me a job, giving me the opportunity to discover talents and abilities I didn’t know I had.
She helped me take the leap into full-time freelance work, patiently teaching me what she knew, and generously opening doors that I never would have had access to otherwise. Her faith and confidence in me was a gift – a gift that I will never forget, and will always strive to pass on to others.
Here’s to another day of seeing the best in others, supporting an environment of active learning and growth – for all of us.